September is Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), an industry focus designed to educate consumers about the importance of life insurance and the role it plays in protecting families’ financial security. This year’s LIAM spokesperson is Kelly Rowland, best known as a member of Destiny’s Child. According to Rowland, “By having life insurance, you’re saying to your family, ‘I love you. I’ve got you, and I’m seeing to your future no matter what.’”
There’s no greater motivation for putting a protection plan in place than for those you love.
Among the decisions you need to make when buying life insurance is what company to choose. Here are some tips to help you find the right insurance company for you, your family, and your situation.
- Price matters, but it’s not the most important factor. Often, a straight price comparison can cause you to overlook the underlying features of a policy, such as cash value guarantees and return of premium features, that can be of real value over time.
- Price quotes may change, so get several of them. Initial price quotes often change after your personal and health information has been assessed. Make sure you get multiple price quotes, so you have choices should some of the final price quotes come back much higher than expected.
- Find companies that are financially strong. You want to work with a company that will be around when it’s time to pay the death benefit on the policy. There are a number of independent rating firms, such as Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, A.M. Best Company, and Standard & Poor’s, that issue grades for insurance companies. Additionally, life insurance companies will generally post their ratings on their website. Each rating firm has a different scale, but generally you want to look for a rating in the A range.
- Evaluate each company’s menu of offerings. Although many companies sell similar polices, some focus on certain products (i.e. whole life), certain market segments (i.e. seniors, young professionals), or specific careers (i.e. medical professionals).
- Look at customer satisfaction scores. You want to work with a company that is going to provide good service and support. One way to gauge an insurer’s reputation is through complaints filed with state regulators. You can access them on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is an industry association dedicated to protecting consumers and ensuring fair, competitive, and healthy insurance markets.
- Consider using a mutual company. Unlike publicly traded insurance companies which are owned by stockholders, mutual life insurance companies exist to serve the insurance needs of their policyholders who may share in the profits in the form of policy dividends.
Leverage life insurance experts. There are many financial advisors who specialize in life insurance. They have not only an in-depth knowledge of all the various policies available but also access to a wide range of carriers, and they can do the work of matching you with the company and policy that best suits your needs.
We hope you find this list helpful and consider using it as a catalyst to either purchasing life insurance for the first time or reevaluating the coverage you currently have to ensure it still meets your protection needs.
We leave you with a few more words of wisdom from LIAM Spokeswoman Kelly Rowland: “Having life insurance truly eases my heart and mind. It means that no matter what, my family can keep looking toward the future.”